Discernment 2022-2023

 Breakdown in Discipline

What sets us apart as Methodists is the degree to which we practice church discipline. The Articles of Religion in the UMC Book of Discipline provides the foundational framework for the United Methodists. Over the course of time, we have seen a decline in the practice of the doctrine. The first table below contains examples of UMC clergy contradicting this doctrine, without correction or disciplinary action.

Violation Example

Witness/Proof

A local UMC pastor in Hanover County stated that one who believes Jesus is the only way to Salvation is arrogant. Jimmy Mills, Lay Leader
Active UMC pastor, Melissa Putnam Claxton, posted on Facebook: “…Jesus Christ is my way but I don’t believe that he is the only way that points people to God…. I do not believe in eternal damnation…it means that grace is not really grace…” United Methodist Clergy | Facebook (Post seems to have been removed from Facebook.)
Staff – First United Methodist Church of Warren (warrenfirstumc.org)
Rev. Roger Wolsey, a United Methodist Pastor, states Jesus isn’t God and did not die for our sins. He also states Christianity isn’t the only way for humans to experience salvation. It’s time for Progressive Christianity. | It’s time for Progressive Christianity. (patheos.com)
Rev. David M. Felten, of The Fountains UMC in Arizona, disregards biblical authority and states Paul and Augustine “made up a fanciful story about sin and the power of Jesus to redeem us.” https://juicyecumenism.com/2022/06/15/methodist-david-felten/
Rev. Adam Hamilton, UM Church of Kansas City states the texts of the Bible can be placed into three “buckets”; he calls the third bucket a place for things that “never ever reflected the heart of God”. https://www.bwcumc.org/archives/adam-hamilton-makes-sense-of-the-bible-at-foundry-umc/
John 14:6 Jesus answered,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Human sexuality is frequently pointed to when discussing schisms in the UMC. According to the Book of Discipline ¶304.3, Qualifications for Ordination, the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in the United Methodist Church. These violations are too numerous to list but more importantly are examples of direct violations that continue to happen as a result of the current UMC management culture.

Karen Oliveto, a self-professed lesbian was appointed a bishop of the UMC Western Jurisdictional Conference for a four-year term in 2016 and currently serves as the Bishop of the Mountain Sky Conference of the UMC.

On April 28, 2017, the United Methodist Church’s high court ruled 6-3 that while her lesbian status was in violation of the church’s policies governed by the Book of Discipline, she could still retain her position as bishop and the church’s Western Jurisdiction would handle the matter. The judicial council also ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to review her nomination, election, or assignment.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Oliveto

Commentary: Attorney on confusion over Oliveto’s status – The United Methodist Church (archive.org)

The Illinois Great Rivers Conference’s Vermillion River District Committee on Ordained Ministry unanimously certified Isaac Simmons who goes by Ms. Penny Cost in drag as a candidate for ministry in the UMC. Mr. Simmons is an openly gay man.

Mr. Isaacs is also an associate pastor at Hope UMC, Bloomington, IL.

https://religionnews.com/2021/04/15/first-drag-queen-certified-as-a-candidate-for-united-methodist-ministry-speaking-in-a-new-way-to-new-people/
https://www.behopechurch.org/about
https://www.mspennycost.com/
Bishop Laurie Haller and her superintendents decided that as of January 1, 2022, the Iowa Conference would no longer enforce The Book of Discipline restrictions on clergy and congregations officiating and hosting same-gender weddings.

The Iowa Cabinet readily acknowledged that they are choosing to violate The Book of Discipline.

https://wesleyancovenant.org/2022/07/15/do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do/
https://www.iaumc.org/newsdetail/15777927
Oak Lawn United Methodist Church in Dallas, TX is self-appointing two new LGBTQ-identifying pastors after bishop of North Texas rejected requests for their appointments. https://www.keranews.org/texas-news/2022-06-15/dallas-church-self-appoints-two-lgbtq-pastors-after-bishop-denies-them-positions
https://www.texasstandard.org/stories/oak-lawn-united-methodist-church-dallas-appoints-lgbtq-pastors/
https://olumc.org/our-beliefs
More than 500 Virginia Conference Clergy, Retired Clergy, and Laity signed a General Statement in Response to General Conference 2019 which states “We refuse to uphold any exclusionary provisions against LGBTQIA+ Christians.” This is a direct violation of the Book of Discipline. General Conference 2019 Response — A New Thing (anewthingva.com)
The Baltimore-Washington Conference posted on their site (which is funded by apportionment payments) an article about Reverend Michael Johnson’s transition to be a trans-woman. https://www.bwcumc.org/news-and-views/johnson-shares-her-story-of-transitioning-to-trans-woman/